From the Publisher: Election Week Approaches

Arnold G. York

Several weeks ago when the absentee voter ballots were sent out, The Malibu Times endorsed the incumbents Laura Rosenthal and Lou La Monte for a second term. Nothing has happened in this campaign that would lead us to change our minds. If anything, the performances in the various forums have reinforced our original opinion. 

We still enthusiastically endorse Laura Rosenthal and Lou La Monte for a second, four-year term on the city council. Repeating myself, I’d say both Laura and Lou have exhibited sound, measured judgment, the willingness to work long hours frequently required of council members, and the patience to hear out people and their views. That is not easy in this town where there is a coterie of people who are almost pathologically angry about just about everything. They seem to believe that government is easy if only we had the right people in office (meaning, of course, people they agree with) and everyone is conspiring in back room deals. 

Let me give you an example: In my mind the swap of Charmlee Park for Bluffs Park is absolutely a no-brainer. The city is going to get a major park in the center of town, plus space for an additional playing field and more parking. They’re giving Charmlee Park to a state agency that will keep it as an open space. What is there to argue about? 

Currently, Laura is leading the charge to try and help us get our own school district, which would be good for our children, our schools, our city and our real estate values. To do that takes skill and smarts and experience, and Laura has all three. Cleaning up our schools is in process and will continue. 

Lou La Monte has taken a strong leadership role in connection with trying to get some control over all the drug and alcohol rehab facilities that have popped up in Malibu. This, again, is a very complex issue against a well-funded opposition that makes a vast amount of money in the rehab business. It requires building a coalition with other cities and creating credibility with numerous state agencies. It’s tough, time-consuming and requires a lot of skill. 

Running a city like Malibu is not easy. Our budget is more than $20 million per year. We employ more than 60 employees and numerous outside contractors, and the council has to do a lot of listening, a lot of reading, and then set policy that’s executed through the city manager and city staff. I believe it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that people running for council should have some education, some experience in running organizations and some basic acquaintance with budgeting. Then, if they really want to get involved, they should develop a track record. Get on a city commission, join an advisory group, do your homework and then run. I have little admiration for people who wake up one morning and suddenly hear a voice in the wilderness saying, “The people need you. Run for city council.” 

Today I noticed a so-called newspaper on the newsstands, which calls itself “The Malibu Tribune.” It is a campaign advertisement disguised to look like a newspaper. It seems to pop up every four years at election time. It features a front page picture of our newly elected Mayor Skylar Peak, and candidates Andy Lyon and Hamish Patterson all posing in their shades, looking very much like a contemporary version of the Blues Brothers. 

One last thing: In 2016 there will be three seats open on the council and only one incumbent. House and Sibert will be termed out. I think it’s important that we keep some experience on the council now to take us past the next election, which is another reason we strongly endorse Laura Rosenthal and Lou La Monte.